The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Larger structure at top of finished loaf

breadysuit's picture
breadysuit

Larger structure at top of finished loaf

I've noticed on my last two bakes - one a boule and the other a focaccia - that there are much larger bubbles at the top of the structure of the crumb. What does this imply? I'm still pretty happy with how they look, but I'm wondering if it means something that this happened a few different times. I had a few other bakes with a different starter where the crumb was the same level of openness, but more scattered in terms of the larger and smaller openness. Any ideas?

breadysuit's picture
breadysuit

You can see the more open structure at the top of the focaccia. 

phaz's picture
phaz

I'd have to say it's over proofed/fermented. The color looks kinda pale in the 2nd pic and also looks to be pretty flat. What changed - probably the starter - they'll do that every now and then. Just something to keep an eye out for. I don't know the recipe, or the starter, but if going by the clock for fermenting/proofing times, don't. When things change, even a little, timings can and probably will also change, could be a little, could be a lot. For now, try cutting back on ferment/proof times and see what happens. Enjoy!

breadysuit's picture
breadysuit

My apologies, the picture in the comments is a focaccia, not a boule. I was trying (perhaps poorly!) to show how both the boule and the focaccia have significantly larger air pockets toward the top of their respective structures. 

I definitely learned my lesson on overproofing when my very first boule was a flat pancake. 🤣 I usually only let it get a max rise of 50% during bulk now. 

phaz's picture
phaz

I see, I missed the focaccia part - but that's a good looking focaccia. Only thing that comes to mind would be handling of the dough - maybe go a touch less gentle to spread out the big holes a bit. Hmm - how is the starter added to the mix - dissolved in water and added - folded in after water is added? Could be an uneven distribution of starter, but I'd go with the handling thing. Be a little rough on the next one and see what happens. Good luck!

breadysuit's picture
breadysuit

Thanks for the response.

For both of these recipes, the starter was added to the water, dissolved and then flour added. For the boule, I do a number of stretch and folds, then an envelope, tension against bench to shape, then a 30 min rest, then another envelope fold, then tension again before going into the bowl for final proof. I'm wondering if I should skip the second envelope?

phaz's picture
phaz

I can't say about the folding as I don't do it, but it is looking more and more like handling. Before you start proofing, flatten out the dough a little and pat it down gently (or not so gently - you'll have to play with it a little to get the crumb the way you want) to distribute the big bubbles a bit. General rule - gentle = bigger holes and rougher = smaller more even holes. Try it, see what happens, let us know how it goes, and most of all Enjoy!

pall.ecuador's picture
pall.ecuador

Yeah I think this is either A) overproof on your final proof or B) not enough development earlier on so when started to rise bubbles get together.  I'd try proofing a little less and yeah maybe do a better job "punching down" i.e. pinching any big bubbles as you are shaping.